Thursday, July 19, 2012

Inside the mind of a crazy person

On the train - An insight into my mind

On way to the metro station I counted all of my coins, and prepared myself with the exact right change for the ticket machine before I arrived.

I had a pocket full of change but I had to count it just in case I wouldn’t have enough change for the way back, because if that was the case I would have to make sure to save a dollar bill that was crisp enough to work in the machine because if I ended up having to use a five I’d end up with more change and I always have too much change, it’s a constant battle to manage it.

I put my coins in the machine, a mixture of dimes, quarters and nickles, and when all the coins had entered the machine it claimed I still owed 25c. This made me mad, as I had pre-counted my coins. I knew I had put them all in. I waited for a moment thinking that perhaps the machine was just slow in counting, and I hadn’t noticed because I was putting in a bunch of coins and not paying too close attention as they added up, but after a few moments I was convinced now that the machine thought I owed another 25c.

I checked every slot in the machine for the missing quarter, I checked the floor just in case I had somehow dropped it and not heard in land, even though the very thought seemed ludicrous, because I am always aware when I drop coins, mostly because if I drop a penny do I look desperate for picking it up, or do I look more like an ungrateful bastard if I don’t pick it up? After a few moments of looking around I was now convinced the machine had ripped me off. I was angry for a couple of seconds, cursing the machine makers for their incompetence, and the government for allowing money like this to be stolen from citizens, and thens something occurred to me.

 Tickets are $1.50 not $1.25.

Now I beat myself up for being so fucking stupid as to forgetting this, as I’d just ridden the metro a couple of days earlier and had made a big deal to myself over thinking it was $1.25 only to find out it was $1.50 and how mistakes like that completely undo the good work of pre-checking change rations.

Now I imagined what would have happened had I verbalized my complaint that the machine had missed registering my 25c only for someone to pull out security footage proving that I'd only put in $1.25 and then just how fucking humiliated I'd be learning it was $1.50 and trying to defend myself saying 'it was $1.25 when I used to ride all the time, so I am not a complete moron' but knowing even I couldn’t defend that argument because I had travelled on the metro two days earlier and had made a mental note to not forget that it was now $1.50 and come to think of it am I really sure it was ever $1.25? Actually no. Man what a fucking fool of myself I would have made had I complained which I would never have done because I never do complain just in case it ends up that I was in the wrong and would look like an idiot.

This made me flash back to New Zealand ten years ago when for only the second time ever, I honked my car horn. A man made an illegal move on some road nearly crashing into me as I drove my rental car to the airport to fly home and an accident now would have caused me who knows how much hassle. So I honked him.

About two years later I was reading a story on driving trips in New Zealand in an Australian newspaper and it mentioned something extremely alarming. There was a particular driving law that in New Zealand is the opposite of what it is in Australia, which has been known to cause accidents when Australians drive in New Zealand or vice versa. I didn’t remember that exact situation which took place when I had honked my horn in New Zealand, but now I suddenly thought ‘oh my god, that time I honked my horn in New Zealand, maybe it was in fact ME that was in the wrong and therefore not only did I nearly cause an accident but I honked my horn in anger even though I was in the wrong! Holy fuck, what a fucking asshole that would have made me!’

I imagined the other driver telling the story to his friends ‘so this guy nearly hits me with his car, and then HE honked ME’ and now all these guys hate me too ‘what a fucking wanker that guy is, if he comes around here again I will kick his ass for you’. 

‘Oh my god’ I though ‘if this spreads, half of fucking New Zealand is probably going to hate me’.

I have literally never honked my car horn since, and now, quite regularly, if a situation comes up where I think I am in the right in any walk of life, I think of this moment in New Zealand and hold back my anger, because sometimes when you think you’re in the right it turns out you were actually in the wrong, and to get angry when you are in the wrong is unforgivable.

Feeling like shit, I go to pull out the extra quarter I need to pay for my ticket. This isn’t as easy as it seems, because now I have to re-count all of my coins to make sure I still have change for the ride home, now needing 25c more than I thought I was going to need, and yet possessing 25c less than I had on my original count. Low and behold, I now no longer had enough change for the ride home.

‘You deserve that for being a fool’ I said to myself. Then I flashed back to the small pile of coins on my floor in my apartment that had fallen out of my pocket as I switched my belt from my jeans to my shorts. I thought they were all pennies so I didn’t pick them up at the time ‘are you sure there was not a quarter in there’ I now said to myself ‘if you get home and it turns out there was a quarter which could have saved you from this mess you are going to look like such a fucking idiot! Why do you always have to be so fucking lazy, would it have been that hard to pick up those coins when they fell? Is your life really better procrastinating over little shit like that, you are going to look at them there fifty times and think about picking them up but choose not to, even though you know picking them up right away only takes a moment. No wonder your not successful if you waste time like this you fucking loser’ I said to myself.

I looked in my wallet. I had several one dollar notes and I pulled out the crispiest of them all, I decided to punish myself for being so stupid with the coins by wasting the nicest bill in my wallet on a metro card, when it could have been used on something more fulfilling like a can of Diet Dr Pepper.

I thought about separating the crisp one dollar bill, and fifty cents into a separate pocket, so that I wouldn’t forget and accidently spend them - ‘are you really such a fucking idiot that you can’t remember not to spend your metro ticket money?’ I said to myself. And felt like a moron for knowing that there was a possibility that I was that big of an idiot, but then in a moment of optimism thought ‘no, anytime I see that crisp one now I will be reminded of what an idiot I was, and I won’t forget not to spend it as long as I remember I am an idiot’.

I caught the train and got on with my afternoon, and only four or five times did I think about the 25c fiasco again over the next couple of hours.

Now it was time to catch the train home. As I pulled out the crisp one dollar to put in the machine I felt a mixture of self-loathing and pride as I remembered how it had come to using a bill instead of coins, but then felt good about myself for not actually accidently spending the dollar. Then, as I walked to the turn styles disaster nearly happened.

A huge gust of wind hit me, and my ticket nearly blew out of my hand!

Even though it did not, I was now forced to consider what I would have done had it actually blown away. I dealt with the idea of trying to chase after it and quickly passed on that. Chasing after a ticket blowing in the wind in a train station would make me look like an idiot, and I did not want to look like an idiot who couldn’t even hold on to a friggin’ piece paper in front of all of these strangers. 

‘What if I just didn’t buy another ticket’ I thought ‘my conscience would be clear because I would know that I had in fact paid the money for a ticket, but then this lead me to go through the melodrama in my mind of trying to convince a ticket inspector that I did buy a ticket and that it had just blown out of my hand, which lead me to spend the entire ride detailing to myself every minuscule detail of my ticket buying process so if I had to testify to a non-existent ticket inspector, or even higher authority, about my non-existent lost ticket I wouldn't forget any detail or stumble in a way that made me seem like I may be making it up, even though I knew that if I had I actually lost my ticket I would definitely have purchased a replacement, because I find even the idea of having to defend a truth I cannot prove to a person in a position of power who has no reason to believe me nothing short of endlessly excruciating.

In the middle of all of this ticket buying anguish I was out to check out some car yards. I need to buy a car so I don’t have to ride the metro, and so I can get to places the metro doesn’t even go, like almost everywhere in Los Angeles. Fucking up the purchase of a $1.50 metro card caused me all sorts of anguish today, so you can only imagine the dilemma buying a car is for me. I was considering blogging about it but really there is not enough space in cyberspace to fit all of the little things that I worry about, beat myself up about, and dislike about the process. Let’s just say I hope to get it done soon, but doubt I will. 

By the way when I got home I did check to see if there was a quarter among the coins on the floor. There was not. But I still did not pick them up.

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